Merlin rocket engine of new generation, manufactured by Elon musk, exploded during tests on one of the test sites in Texas. According to the official statement of the company, at the time of this incident nobody suffered. The explosion, however, caused serious damage to test equipment at the facility MacGregor had run. Company representatives have made an official statement addressed to the press and investors.
“All security protocols during testing was carefully observed. We currently conduct a fully transparent investigation to try to identify the cause that led to the incident. The incident will not affect future plans of the companies, SpaceX. All the planned launches will be performed according to the schedule”, — said the official speaker of the company John Taylor.
The company plans until the end of this year to produce three or four launch their missiles. Fortunately, these missions used an early version of the Merlin engine and the rocket version of the Block 4. Exploded as an experimental model, which was planned to be used in the Falcon 9 rocket version of the Block 5. Only the object MacGregor, the company SpaceX has three test benches. The first tested the Merlin engines on the second – a more powerful rocket engines Raptor, and the third – the engines of the upper stages.
The explosion of the engine occurred last Sunday, but the company’s representatives kept quiet for several days. The details of the incident became known only now. As it turned out, the explosion occurred even before the engine is started, during the procedure, which is called LOX Drop. The engine is filled with liquid oxygen, to identify any leaks. It was at this moment something caused the oxygen to ignite, and the explosion occurred. Repair and replacement of the affected equipment, according to the officials of SpaceX, will take from one week to one month.